Introducing Level and Benchmark: the new, joined-up approach to assessment

Level and Benchmark test

We are delighted to announce the launch of the brand new Level Test and Benchmark Test from Pearson English. These latest assessments in our proficiency portfolio give teachers the powerful insights they need to first understand each student’s starting level, and then track their progress in detail. 

Both tests can be taken online, at home or at school, giving you and your students day-to-day access to Pearson’s world-class, AI-backed scoring system. This cutting-edge technology is approved by governments, including the UK and Australia, as well as businesses and universities around the world.

The tests are available separately, but are designed to work alongside each other, on a new proficiency platform, Pearson English Test Hub. Test Hub brings teachers, tests and test-takers together, to target and streamline the assessment process throughout the learning journey. It gives you the at-a-glance, practical data you need, plus detailed insights into the abilities of your individual students, average abilities across the class, and targeted teaching and learning recommendations.

Let’s take a look at the two tests in more detail. 

Level Test

Level assessment test

The Pearson English Level Test uses the latest Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to simplify the process of organizing your students by level, which can often be complex and time-consuming for teachers and school administrations. As the test is taken online, your new students can sit the test in your school or learning centre, or even in their own homes, as long as basic computer, headset and Internet requirements are met. 

In just 30 minutes, the Level Test assesses the four skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking. A 20-minute, ‘3-Skills’ version is also available, which omits the speaking section of the test.

The Level Test is adaptive, which means all new students sit the same test. The difficulty level is gradually adjusted depending on the answers that the student gives. As a result, students with a higher level will find their limits, while lower-level students won’t be discouraged by lots of difficult questions they can’t answer.

Students will encounter a range of different question types over the course of the test, from gap-fill activities to reading comprehension questions. Some of the questions are designed to uncover a student’s abilities in one particular skill like speaking or writing, and other questions target integrated skills. 

Once your student has finished the test, you’ll get their results in a report, just a few minutes later. The report summarizes their current language ability and indicates their level on both the CEFR scale and the Global Scale of English (GSE). You’ll also receive a breakdown of the student’s skills, detailing their performance in listening, speaking, reading and writing. This will indicate whether a student is performing above, at or below their general level. 

In addition, if you are setting up a new online group class, you can access a group report. This gives you all the students’ performances as an average score and lets you see how many students are at each level. 

Benchmark Test


Benchmark Assessment

Designed to fit neatly into a 45-minute lesson, the Pearson English Benchmark Test aims to thoroughly assess students across the four skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. There are a mix of questions and activities, from short essay prompts, to vocabulary tables and grammar correction.

The test gives you a way of measuring and assessing your students’ progress through your English teaching program. It can be used with any English course and employs the latest AI technology to offer you a way of tracking and comparing results across a class – or even an entire school.

Like the Level Test, the Benchmark Test can be taken at home as well as in school, making it a powerful tool for teachers who are teaching online and in bricks and mortar classrooms. 

There is a choice of levels: A, B1, B2 and C, and students are scored on both the Global Scale of English (GSE) and the CEFR scale.

Results are calculated quickly – and you’ll receive a score for each student within a few minutes of them completing the test. The Benchmark report is extremely detailed, also offering a group report with average scores, both at a general level and within the four skills. In addition, the group report includes a table of individual student levels which are clearly listed to allow you to compare their overall ability as well as per skill. 

Then there are the individual student reports, which give a breakdown of their performance, show a comparison to their previous score so you can see the improvement that they’ve made, and offer guidance and recommendations so you can set learning objectives for the next stage of their learning journey. 

Invaluable tools for flexible learning

These two tests are invaluable tools, especially for the many English teachers who are navigating the world of online teaching for the first time. If you’d like to find out about how you can access the tests, contact your local Pearson representative or head to our website for more information. 

Did you enjoy this article about our Level and Benchmark tests? If so, check out our recent post on how to keep learners motivated if their exams have been cancelled or postponed.

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